Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

In thinking about the consequences of rapid population growth, it is i to consider both the kinds of effects and the nature of the causes, wt these be the speed of growth itself, the underlying high birth rates, or p< tion size and density. We are also concerned with the time spans over' the effects occur, and the scale; that is, whether we are dealing v country or a region as a whole, or with the level of the family, v community, or other small social unit.
In the discussion that follows we begin with the concern about adei of resources.
Public concern over the adequacy of resources to meet the demand rapidly growing population advances and recedes; it never ceases, ai good reason. The arithmetical exercise that pits rising demand against a of resources that, in some ultimate sense, is physically finite though quately known, is both easy to perform and, for many, hard to resis dismal outcome is a foregone conclusion, provided the time horizon is ciently extended. Demand projections have an apparent persuasiveness when carried into the distant future, that is not matched by projecti' supply which must be based on conservative assumptions if they are : appear highly speculative. Projections of demand thus "swamp" proje of supply, and a crisis is predicted within easily specified time ranges.
The missing ingredient in this type of prognostication is the abil measure man's capacity to manipulate the kind and volume of the res he uses (including his ability to meet specific shortages of materials, tr in which he manages resource exploitation, and his control over hi numbers).
Providing for the required resources seems overwhelmingly difficull we look into the future, and yet, looking backward, we learn that man
*See Joseph L. Fisher and Neal Potter, "The Effects of Population Growth source Adequacy and Quality," in Vol. II of this study.